|Jul/Aug 2016 Poetry Special Feature|
Photographic Artwork by Victoria Mlady
I Confide in Jo March about My Divorce
Nothing more, except that I don't believe I shall ever marry. I'm happy as I am, and love my liberty too well to be in any hurry to give it up for any mortal man. —Louisa May Alcott, Little Women"
We begin by sitting together on the three-legged sofa
with a bowl of shiny apples and a parade of books
on the floor by our feet. Meg is calling up the stairs,
but we ignore her until she goes away. Jo eats her first
apple quickly and tucks the core out of sight in the pocket
of her skirt. I use a knife to slice off narrow bits of crisp
flesh, balancing the fruit awkwardly on my knee.
I recognize her lifted eyebrow as scorn, but I
don't mind. She is still a girl, this young Jo who
doesn't care that she will say both no and yes
to love, that sometimes we say yes because there
isn't a compelling enough reason not to. I tell her
how difficult I have always found it to leave
people and situations, that unless forced out
the door, I might still have all of my jobs,
might still be dating all of my boyfriends.
I think how lucky I am that so few of my looming
pasts are real, that I can move forward through
the maze and just keep going. All of Jo's choices
still wait for her, and I don't reveal what I know
of her two men, though I could quote her dismissal
of one word for word. "Use your teeth," she suddenly
advises, and I know she isn't talking about the apple.